• Present 2016

    Director of Learning


  • Present 2006

    Co-Founder, Vice President

    Ponte and Chau Consulting Inc.

  • 2016 2015

    Director, Early learning

    Kidaptive, Inc.

  • 2015 2010

    Senior Learning Designer

    LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.

  • 2010 2006

    Lead Researcher

    MIT, New Media Literacies, Comparative Media Studies

  • 2010 2004

    Research Analyst

    Tufts University, Developmental Technologies Research Group


  • Ph.D. 2014

    Ph.D. in Applied Child Development

    Tufts University, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development

  • M.A. 2006

    M.A. in Applied Child Development

    Tufts University, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development

  • B.A. 2004

    B.A. in Music and Psychology

    Washington University in St. Louis

Awards and Fellowships

  • 2014
    Research-Practice Integration Award

    Tufts University, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development

    For accomplishments in scholarship and applied work that have demonstrated the most potential to foster the integration of research and practice in the field of child development.

  • 2013
    Toy and Game Inventor of the Year

    The TAGIE Awards, Chicago Toy & Game Group

    Electronic Adaptation, LeapFrog Creativity Camera Case and App.

  • 2010
    Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development Alumni Award

    Tufts University, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development

  • 2006
    Outstanding Contribution to Undergraduate Education Award

    Tufts University

    For excellence as a teaching assistant and for mentoring undergraduates students in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, or social sciences.

  • 2004
    Dignity of Difference Award

    Washington Universtiy in St. Louis

    For efforts that have enhanced the campus climate as it relates to race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, culture, socioeconomic status, disabilities, and wellness.

  • 2003
    Fischlowitz Fellowship

    Washington University in St. Louis

    Travel fellowship ($5,000) awarded to support indepedent travel and research with a particular purpose to explore the various facets of the United States.

  • 2002
    Summer Leaders Fellowship

    Washington University in St. Louis

    Summer fellowship and leadership program awarded to selected student leaders for exploring various opportunities in social and community work.

Recent Projects

  • Magic Adventure Globe

    Explore countries and cultures with live-action footage from the BBC on this touch-enabled globe.

    Travel the world and see everything in it with the Magic Adventures Globe. Using the stylus, children can tap on the 10" interactive learning globe and experience new places, languages, cultures, animals, geography, habitats and more through high-quality BBC videos. (For Ages 5+ yrs)

  • LeapFrog Academy

    Embark on a adaptive multi-curricular learning journey in a playful 3D virtual world.

    LeapFrog Academy is an education app that brings children into a 3D world of learning adventures, with over 2,000+ activities across the subjects and an adaptive system that scaffolds the learning. (Subscription. iOS, Android, html5. For Ages 3-6 yrs)

  • Disney Doc McStuffins

    Use problem-solving skills to help Doc treat toy patients and learn health lessons.

    Being a doctor involves a lot of problem solving, logic and reasoning. This game allows children to build those skills as they play along with Doc. Plus, it teaches children about health and hygiene topics, and addresses their fears of the doctor by explaining and familiarizing players with the check-up process and tools. (For Ages 3-5 yrs)

  • Holi and Oli: Viking Adventure

    Help Holi and Oli navigate the trecherous water as you learn coding skills.

    In Holi and Oli: Viking Adventure, children create sequences of commands, similar to those found in computer programming activities, to solve game problems. It engages children in a type of computational thinking that helps to develop planning and logic skills important for mathematics, science, and other subjects. (For Ages 5-9 yrs)

  • Sesame Street: Solving It with Elmo, Abby and Super Grover 2.0!

    Unleash your powers of observation and investigation with favorite Sesame Street characters.

    Designed specifically for preschoolers, Sesame Street provides early exposure to STEM concepts and helps foster their budding powers of investigation, observation and experimentation. Learn about simple machines, gravity, engineering, and logic skills. (For Ages 3-5 yrs)

  • Disney-Pixar Monsters University

    Train to be a top Scarer using logic skills to solve puzzles, complete mini-games and create your own monsters.

    Each level is designed to exercise logic skills, requiring them to rely on tools in the environments to overcome opponents and obstacles. Children are encouraged to test problem-solving strategies, learn from mistakes and try again. Play games like Guess Who, memory, and mazes. (For Ages 4-7 yrs)

  • Hasbro Transformers Rescue Bots Race to the Rescue

    Roll to the rescue and save Griffin Rock from natural disasters as you learn the science behind these phenomena.

    Whether outfitting first responders with the correct gear, identifying areas in danger on a map or understanding the science behind natural phenomena, children explore science concepts as they navigate their way to success in this game. Learn about tornadoes, earthquakes, forest fires, and more. (For Ages 3-5 yrs)

  • Mr. Pencil: Draw Together!

    Multi-player drawing game that challenges players to guess each other's drawings.

    With 3 levels of difficulty and art lessons with Mr. Pencil, children can learn about art fundamentals like using shapes and lines to create drawings. Multiplayer modes help players grasp what it means to draw for an audience. (For Ages 4-7 yrs)

  • Stretchy Monkey Swinging through Time

    Explore history and help Stretchy Monkey travel through time with this addictive game.

    Learning about history helps children develop a sense of time and understand that technology and culture evolve. In this game, children journey through time engaging with activities that spark curiosity about the history of everyday objects. Explore similar objects like automobies and clocks across history, and meet famous inventors and hear their stories. (For Ages 5-8 yrs)

  • Letter Factory Adventures: Water, Water Everywhere!

    Learn about where water comes, their functions, and how we keep it clean for our use.

    Water is one important natural resource that children experience on a daily basis. In this game, children explore basic concepts about where water comes from, and how society uses technology to transform natural water for our daily use. Games teach about filtering and sanitizing water, daily home uses, sewage systems, and water conservation (For Ages 3-5 yrs)

  • Learning Friends Preschool Adventures: Monkey Creates!

    Spend a fun, creative day at the playground and learn about shapes, music, and matching.

    A day at the playground provides a familiar and fun context for exploring visual skills, music and rhythm, memory skills and more. Children practice basic logic and reasoning skills, such as matching and sequencing, and have fun building a vehicle, making music or growing a garden. (For Ages 3-4 yrs)

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Positive Technological Development for Young Children in the Context of Children's Mobile Apps

Chau, C.

Thesis ISBN: 9781303986192 | 2014


This dissertation examines the extent to which children's mobile apps are designed appropriately to promote the optimal development of preschool children aged three to five. Extending on previous work, this study examined 100 children's apps and revealed that only a non- significant majority of apps (58%) were meaningfully and appropriately designed for preschool children in terms of user interface, audio and visual design, and instructional support. The apps selected for this sample included games and learning activities, interactive eBooks, as well as creativity and utility apps. Vignettes and examples are used to illustrate common content and design approaches. This study underscores the need for developmentally meaningful children’s mobile apps for preschool children.

Preschool teachers' beliefs about behavior management in Beijing, Tokyo, and Boston.

Ponte, I., Rothbaum, F., & Chau, C.
Journal Paper Developmental Psychology | (Under Review)


This study focuses on preschool teachers' beliefs about behavior management strategies in Beijing, Tokyo, and Boston. Data from 194 teachers were collected regarding the perceived effectiveness of various behavior management strategies in hypothetical situations involving child misbehavior and/or distress. The findings revealed a significant difference across culture, with Tokyo teachers more likely to endorse indirect strategies, Boston teachers more likely to endorse democratic strategies, and Beijing teachers more likely to endorse autocratic strategies.

Taking it outside: Rethinking and reclaiming outdoor play.

Kuh, L., Ponte, I., Chau, C., & Valentine, D.
Book Chapter Teachers College Press | 2014

In Think Critically About Environments for Young Children: Bridging Theory and Practice -Edited by L. Kuh

This chapter examines the history of playground design and affordances and summarizes a playground renovation project that transformed a traditional school-yard playground into a naturalistic playscape. Observations from before and after the renovation are used to illustrate the impact and outcomes of the playscape design.

The impact of a natural playscape installation on young children's play behaviors.

Kuh, L., Ponte, I., Chau, C.
Journal Paper Children, Youth and Environments, Volume 23, Issue 2 | 2013 | Pages 49-77


This mixed-method study examined environmental affordances and play behaviors during a shift from a traditional to a natural playscape in an early childhood setting. Analysis of time-sampling observations, field notes, and interviews with children revealed more complex play narrative after the transition, highlighting the importance of intentionally designed natural playscapes to promote development.

Positive Technological Development: The Multifaceted Nature of Youth Technology Use towards Improving Self and Society

Bers, M., Lynch, A.D., & Chau, C.
Book Chapter Cambridge University Press | 2013

In Constructing the Self in a Digital World -Edited by C. C. Ching & B. J. Foley.

This chapter presents a new theoretical model, Positive Technological Development, as a lens for examining the role of new technologies on youth development. Data from 188 undergradate students were collected to assess their attitudes toward technology use and their technology-rich environments. Factor analysis revealed significant support for a six-factor model of youth technology use. Examples from a youth technology program illustrate different ways that youth utilize technological tools for social, intellectual, and personal purposes.

YouTube as a participatory culture

Chau, C.
Book Chapter Jossey-Bass | 2011

In Youth as Media Creators -Edited by M. Bers

This chapter examines YouTube as a virtual space that cultivates a participatory culture in which young content creators seek out opportunities to learn and exercise their creative expression. Using Jenkin's participatory culture framework, this analysis examines the affordances of YouTube as a platform that combines media production and distribution with social networking features, making it an ideal place to create, connect, collaborate, and circulate.

Virtual worlds for young people in a program context: Lessons from four case studies

Bers, M., Beals, L., Chau, C., Satoh, K., & Khan, N.
Book Chapter Springer | 2010

In New Science of Learning: Cognition, Computers, and Collaboration in Education -Edited by M. Khine & I. Saleh

This chapter describes four studies that used virtual worlds as a way to connect youth in organized program settings, including a summer camp for early teens, an orientation program for college entrants, a school transition program for pediatric patients with chronic illness, and an international youth network spanning multiple continents. Case examples and vignettes illustrate the use of virtual world technologies for social and personal purposes across the adolescent age span, and design features that promote or hinder these activities.

Use of a virtual community as a psychosocial support system in pediatric transplantation.

Bers, M., Beals, L., Chau, C., Satoh, K., Blume, B., DeMaso, D., & Gonzalez-Heydrich, J.
Journal Paper Pediatric Transplantation, Volume 14, Issue 2 | 2010 | Pages 261-267


Twenty-two post-transplant pediatric patients participated in a virtual world social program over nine mouths. The web-based virtual world environment bridged geographical distance and gave these patients an opportunity to connect with each other from their homes or hospital beds. Physicians and specialists also participated to promote healthy living and medical adherence. Virtual artifacts and chat logs were analyzed. This study demonstrated the feasibility and safety of a virtual world as a potential psychosocial intervention for post-transplant adolescents.

The virtual campus of the future: Stimulating and simulating civic action in a virtual world

Bers, M., & Chau, C.
Journal Paper Journal for Computing in Higher Education, Volume 22, Issue 1 | 2010 | Pages 1-23


Thirty-six college entrants participated in a pre-orientation program that engaged them in civic dialogue and activities through a collaborative virtual world building exercise. The virtual world emulated the college campus and gave participants an opportunity to take different roles to construct virtual spaces or legislate campus rules and regulations. After the three-day program, participants were followed for the next nine months. At the end of the academic year, participants and a control group were surveyed for their participation in campus and civic activities. Program participants were more likely to report engagement in activities to express their political and social viewpoints.

A review of A New Literacies Sampler by Knobel and Lankshear

Chau, C.
Journal Paper E-Learning and Digital Media, Volume 6, Issue 4 | 2009 | Pages 422-423


A review of this edited collection that examines the 'new' in new literacies - what it means to read, write, and learn with and through new digital technologies.

Virtual Communities of Care: Online peer networks with post-organ transplant youth

Bers, M., Chau, C., Satoh, K., & Beals, L.
Conference Paper Proceedings of the Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Conference


This paper discusses the Virtual Communities of Care Project that uses a 3D virtual enviornment to support a psycho-educational intervention for pediatric post-organ transplant patients. These patients have difficulties in developing a peer network due to chronic illness, and as a result they are often incompliant to medical and other requirements. Our goals are to examine the extent to which we can leverage youth interest in technologies to develop an intervention to support peer network building and medical adherence.

Technology and Early Childhood Education

Bers, M., & Chau, C.
Book Chapter Early Childhood Education: An International Encyclopedia, Volume 3 | 2007 | Pages 798-801


This chapter examines the different trends of technology use in early childhood education and provides a developmental lense to assess the appropriateness of these technologies for supporting early childhood education. Using an applied child development framework, we describe different types of technologies including computed-aided instruction software, intelligent systems, constructionist enviornments, and technological tools for promoting collaboration.

Associations between online civic engagement and personal technological characteristics among college students

Chau, C.
Thesis Masters Thesis Abstract International | AAT 1436328 | 2006


Eighty-five college freshmen participated in this cross-sectional study that examined the association between online civic engagement and participants' experience and attitudes about technology. Findings revealed that perceived technological competence and experience with social uses of technology are significantly associated with frequency ofuse of the Internet for civic and pro-social purposes.

Positive Technological Development: A systems approach to understanding youth development when using educational technologies

Chau, C., & Bers, M.
Conference Paper Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences | 2006 | Pages 902-903


Youth development is multifaceted. While educational researchers have paid attention to one or few of these foci, it is imperative to understand how our technologies influence the various facets of youth development. We developed the Positive Technological Development research model to detail the overall impact of a technology on youth. We present a study describing how the PTD model illustrates the impact of an educational technology, while illuminating design areas that need to be revised.

Active Citizenship through Technology: Collaboration, connection, and civic participation

Chau, C., Mathur, A., & Bers, M.
Conference Paper Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences | 2006 | Pages 904-905


Eighteen college students participated in this program to collaboratively designed a virtual college campus by researching information online, interviewing faculty and administrators, using graphics programs, and designing a campus with our software Zora. Zora, an Identity Construction Environment, was purposefully created to encourage participants to explore issues of identity, decision-making, and personal values. Results showed that participants engaged in meaningful deliberation about issues related to college life.

Fostering civic engagement by building a virtual city

Bers, M., & Chau, C.
Journal Paper Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Volume 11, Issue 3 | 2006 | Pages 748-770


This article focuses on the design and use of Zora, a three-dimensional virtual environment in which players can create virtual imageries and artifacts and chat with each other remotely, to promote civic discouse and dialogue among young people. Vignettes and examples from a youth summer camp using Zora illustrate how different technological features elicited various types of civic actions as young users formulate the social environment of this otherwise generic virtual space. Zora also afforded these young users a space to develope a virtual community that became a safe space for experimenting with decisionmaking, self-organization, and civic conversations, as well as for testing democratic values, behaviors, and attitudes.

Panels & Media

  • Jun 2019

    The Genius of Play, The Toy Associationm

    Live panel discussion presented to congressional staffers on Capitol Hill on the role of toys and play in early childhood development, education, and STEM.

  • Oct 2010

    Games and Technologies in the Classroom

    Live webcast interview with wetheteachers.com on topics related to games an technologies in the classroom, implementation, and opportunities.

  • Jun 2010

    Transmedia Navigation

    Live webcast panel discussion with Henry Jenkins (MIT) and Mark Warshaw (The Alchemists) on topics related transmedia navigation, the media, and learning.

  • Oct 2011

    The Forward Roundtable: Collaboration around a framework for quality in digital children's media

    Panelist. Hosted by the way Rogers Center.

  • Jan 2011

    The Fred Forward Roundtable: Collaboration around a framework for quality in digital children's media

    Invited participant. Hosted by the Fred Rogers Center.

  • Nov 2010

    The Dust or Magic Institute

    Invited participant. Hosted by Children's Technology Review

Academic Presentations

  • Apr 2012

    The Outdoor Play Inventory: A time-sampling observation protocol for assessing children's play in outdoor playgrounds

    Chau, C., Ponte, I., & Kuh, L. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association Conference, Vancouver, BC.

  • Feb 2010

    When worlds collide: Real politics in the Word of Warcraft universe

    Chau, C. In the Pechal Kucha series From Fan Activism to Political Activism: Participatory Democracy around Popular Media Affinity Groups (Chair Sangita Shresthova). Paper presented at Digital Media and Learning Conference 2010, San Diego, CA.

  • May 2009

    From participatory culture to learning ecologies

    Chau, C. Keynote presentation at the 2009 Learning in a Participatory Culture Conference, Cambridge, MA.

  • Mar 2007

    Developmental Technologies: Positive uses of technology for youth learning and development

    Chau, C. Chair and Organizer. Symposium presented at the 2007 Society of Research in Child Development Conference, Boston, MA.

  • Mar 2007

    Online civic engagement among late adolescents

    Chau, C. In the symposium Developmental Technologies: Positive uses of technology for youth learning and development. Paper presented at the 2007 Society of Research in Child Development Conference, Boston, MA.

  • Apr 2007

    Using a 3D virtual environment to foster college-community connections

    Chau, C., & Bers, M. Poster presented at the 2007 American Educational Researcher Association Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.

  • Jun 2006

    The Interface of Chinese and American culture in an urban Head Start center

    Chau, C., Fan, S., New, R., Kirst, S., & Ponte, I. Poster presented at Head Start's 8th National Research Conference, Washington D.C..

  • Apr 2006

    Exploring the relationship between educational technology and youth development: A case study of LEGO summer camp

    Chau, C., & Bers, M. Poster presented at the American Educational Research Association 2006 Conference, San Francisco, CA.

  • Aug 2005

    Positive technological development: A research methodology for exploring relationships between youth development and educational technologies.

    Chau, C., & Bers, M. Symposium paper presentation at the 2005 Annual American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, D.C..

  • Apr 2005

    Making friends in virtual communities: An adolescent experience

    Chau, C. Paper presented at Student Presentation Day at Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University, Medford, MA.